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Healthentic team
The Healthentic team is led by Herbert Ong

Can we make the world healthier with big data? Healthentic thinks so, and the Seattle startup is hoping to reduce health care costs along the way by helping big corporations better analyze health care data of employees.

The company’s Wellness Decision Engine allows benefits managers to better analyze insurance claims, and then used that data to create reports that shows what’s occurring with the overall health of employees in the organization. The service also offers recommendations on ways for companies to prevent disease and cut costs on health care.

“This is imperative to solving our nation’s health crisis, and we plan to be front-and-center in this revolution,” says Healthentic CEO and co-founder Herbert Ong, who previously worked at Thomson Reuters and Philips Medical. Here’s more from Ong in this installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Healthentic enables employers to make decisions on wellness and productivity based on data. We offer a wellness measurement and recommendation platform that helps employers manage their investment in wellness.”

healthnetic11Inspiration hit us when:  “Bam! There it was, staring us in the face. We saw the results—across industry, across employer, across years of data—and they all supported one simple recommendation. That recommendation, and our inspiration, came from 30-year industry expert Dr. Dee Edington, founder of the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center. Dr. Eddington claimed that the greatest cost savings came from keeping healthy people healthy. We sent our research team to investigate. Sure enough, they found that employers that were able to keep healthy people from getting worse saw the lowest growth in costs. We categorized people as “Healthy,” “Preventable,” and “Chronic” and then tracked movement between the categories. This became the model for our health dashboard that we currently use. Our Wellness Decision Engine has three key differentiators: we uniquely combine whole health data in one platform, we go beyond reporting by providing the tools to implement recommended solutions, and we do this with simple, elegant design.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “None of the above. There is a whole untapped and often unreported funding source that can come from independent companies.”

healthnetic-logoOur ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our unrelenting passion and dogged determination to always “deliver the win!” Well, that and also having the power to integrate data from all sources such as medical, dental, pharmacy, health risk assessment, biometrics and productivity. This helps us paint an accurate picture of a population’s health (de-identified of course), and from there, we can segment the population into healthy, preventable and chronic ‘buckets’ so that benefit managers can see which ailments currently, and probably will, plague their employees in the future. This helps them implement meaningful and cost-effective wellness strategies to combat these issues head-on through preventative care and wellness strategies.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Taking the time to identify a genuine need in the marketplace instead of engineering what we thought the market might want has led to a delighted user group.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Not hiring more sales people sooner. In our quest to build an amazing product and getting market and customer feedback, we did not invest in ramping up sales earlier especially once we started to receive tremendous signals from many potential channels.”

jobsapple-150x150Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner?  “Steve Jobs. Easily. Jobs’ approach to product development is revered at Healthentic. We like to think that our products are as elegant and desirable as the iPhone.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “Now! We’re already helping employers find ways to bend the healthcare curve. For years, employers have seen their healthcare spend rise and this trend is not slowing down. The top expense line for most employers is their employees and their healthcare spend. Every employer has a dashboard for their widgets but where is the dashboard for their employees’ productivity and where is the dashboard for their employees’ health?

Rivals should fear us because: “The world has become awash with data. There are many companies that send out reports or allow ad-hoc reporting but none that provide actionable recommendations. Our approach uses a company’s population health data and recommends actionable wellness programs plus the ability to track effectiveness over time. Other companies offer reporting, we offer solutions.

We are truly unique because: “We pride ourselves in elegant design and simplicity. Healthentic’s Wellness Decision Engine is built on big data, but it isn’t just an analytics interface. Healthentic is unique because we find hot spots and recommend solutions. We find areas for action and provide one-click business cases. Employers don’t have time to dig through data for their needle in the haystack. That’s why we hand it to them on a silver platter. Smarter tools are easier to use.”

leanstartupThe biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Our biggest problem has always been acquiring data from insurance carriers. Over time, we have been able to build relationships with multiple carriers across various regions, and as we build our reputation, more and more carriers are partnering with us as they realize that it really benefits them most.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “We are big believers in What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services by Anthony Ulwick; The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win by Steve Blank, and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The first activity for all entrepreneurs is to survey your desired market and determine which problems are the most important, yet least satisfied. This will then determine which problem your market is willing to pay money to solve. Then that is what you build your product or company around. This is the opposite of what most companies do.”

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